KJV Dictionary Definition: attain
ATTA'IN, v.i. L. attingo, to reach, come to or overtake; ad and tango, to touch, reach or strike; that is, to thrust, urge or push to. it has no connection with L. attineo. See Class.
1. To reach; to come to or arrive at, by motion, bodily exertion, or efforts towards a place or object.
If by any means they might attain to Phenice. Acts 28.
2. To reach; to come to or arrive at, by an effort of mind.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain to it. Ps. 139.
Regularly this verb should be always followed by to; the omission of to, and the use of the verb, in a transitive sense, may have originated in mistake, from the opinion that the verb is from the L. attineo, and equivalent to obtain.
1. To gain; to compass; to achieve or accomplish, that is, to reach by efforts; without to following.
Is he wise who hopes to attain the end without the means?
This use of the verb is now established; but in strictness to is here implied; attain to the end. The real sense, as in the intransitive use of the verb is, to reach or come to the end or purpose in view. This word always implies an effort towards an object. Hence it is not synonymous with obtain and procure, which do not necessarily imply such effort. We procure or obtain a thing by purchase or loan, and we obtain by inheritance, but we do not attain it by such means. An inattention to this distinction has led good authors into great mistakes in the use of this word.
2. To reach or come to a place or object by progression or motion.
But ere such tidings shall his ears attain.
Canaan he now attains.
3. To reach in excellence or degree; to equal.
ATTA'INABLE, a. That may be attained; that may be reached by efforts of the mind or body; that may be compassed or accomplished by efforts directed to the object; as, perfection is not attainable in this life. From an inattention to the true sense of this word, as explained under attain, authors have very improperly used this word for obtainable, procurable; as in the following passages. "The kind and quality of food and liquor; the species of habitation, furniture and clothing to which the common people of each country are habituated, must be attainable with ease and certainty." "Gen. Howe would not permit them to be purchased in Philadelphia, and they (clothes and blankets) were not attainable in the country." Marshall's Life of Washington, 3,428. Each of these words should be obtainable.
ATTA'INABLENESS, n. The quality of being attainable.
1. The act of attaining; the act of arriving at or reaching; hence the act of obtaining by efforts; as the attainment of excellence.
2. That which is attained to, or obtained by exertion; acquisition; as, a man of great attainments.